“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Our lives entail a lifetime discovery of who God made us to be. Before He formed us in our mother’s womb, He knew us. He knew why we were born into this world. He is a God of purpose. Only He knows the end from the very beginning, for He is the Alpha and the Omega. When we come to this revelation that He knows everything about us, it puts our hearts to rest. Instead of relying and leaning on our own understanding, insights and agendas, we put our trust and confidence in Him Who is our All-Knowing Father, Who knows the number of hairs on our heads, Who busies Himself with our every step.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG)
We are not called to lead the way. Jesus not only knows the way, but He is the Way. In Christ, we are His sheep. We know His voice and we follow Him Who is our Good Shepherd Who only has good plans in store for us. Where He goes we follow as we listen and heed His voice. It is He Who directs us on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As we walk with Him, the pleasures are never-ending, and this is where we know and experience true joy and contentment.
If we want to backtrack and see where we came from, surely we will find significant moments and appointed times where we can clearly see His hand leading us.
I took a leap of faith in purchasing a new digital piano. For the past week, I had this strong unction to upgrade my keyboard. I have this desire to learn more on how to play it. I got back to learning how to read music sheets little by little for it has always been my yearning to be able to read it like reading a book. But, every time I got to the point of thinking why should I since I can play by ear, I always find myself stopping. Had I not given up, I would have reached my goal by now.
Thank God, He is rich in mercy and abounding in love. He never violates our will, but He always has ways and means of touching our hearts to get back on track. I could almost audibly hear Him saying to me, “recalculating”. Somehow deep in my heart, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is one of the gifts that He has given me. Every time I stopped, I always get triggered to get back and be trained again. This happened so many times. There must be something that I will be doing although it is yet unknown to me at this very moment. All I know is that where I am right now is preparation time. Indeed, “where there is no vision, people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
Why was I born to my parents who were both music teachers? At an early age, I started playing the piano since my mother was a piano teacher. I was reading music sheets then. But when my older sister’s turn came, I was more excited in listening and watching her play. When she was done practicing, I would mimic the piano piece that she was playing without notes. I just had so much fun doing it and these memories are still so vivid to today.
Then my father informally taught me how to play ukelele, guitar and our native musical instruments. When I was in high school, I was in the drum and bugle corps with lyre in my hands. Was I taught? Nah. During my college days, I was with the cultural dance troupe where I played the fretless double bass. I was only given a cassette tape to learn. When I started working, I shifted into portable keyboards. Then into song compositions and arrangements. These were all done without formal training. I may not be good at everything that I have done and still doing, but I have done something.
One of the greatest decisions that I made when I came to know our Lord Jesus Christ was when I joined our church’s praise and worship team. Was I a musician in the team? No! hahaha! I was with the vocals, a worship co-leader. But one thing very significant that was changed in me was that my perception in music became purposeful and meaningful. It became my vehicle and a powerful tool to praise and worship the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
A couple of weeks ago, I was watching some pianists on Youtube where I came across this digital piano model that caught my attention. I checked its specifications and they perfectly suit my need. Hmmmm … A week later, I found myself searching where I could possibly see and try it, hahahaha! After browsing the net and calling a few stores, I finally found one. Yes, there was only ONE unit available in the whole city where I live, but the catch was … it was already reserved. Ouchhhh! Anyhow, they still took my contact details for future shipment advice though the new ones coming in no longer include the model that I wanted. Surprisingly, my heart was still. A few minutes later, I got a message that they were going to re-confirm with the person who reserved the unit. Aha! They must have sensed my serious pursuit of it, but above all, I must acknowledge that the Orchestrator of all times was on the move. His Word says that He busies Himself with every step that we make (Proverbs 37:23 AMPC). Do you think my heart stayed still? Nahhh … I was very excited. I somehow knew that that digital piano has my name on it. Two hours later, a message came that the one who reserved that unit cancelled and opted for another model. Coincidence? Nahhhh!
Now, with my new digital piano, there is a new unveiling, a progressive revelation, gearing me to see things differently. Preparation time is never wasted time. We do not despise small beginnings but delight in it. Come to think of it, we would not be physically walking straight right now had we not taken those baby steps in the past.
“And though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would greatly increase.” (Job 8:7 AMPC)
In preparation, there is a process and in the process, there is practice. To upgrade ourselves is not found in the abundance of planning but in the consistency of what we are doing. There is progress in practice. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” (Luke 16:10 (NLT)
For me, the potential reward of being musically equipped to worship the One Who is Worthy ignites the fire in my heart to pursue. Knowing that the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable, it energizes me more to be a better version of myself every time I sit, play and pray. Passion indeed erupts an unquenchable flame within us that makes mountains before us be like molehills because of the determination that is resident in every fiber of our being.
I like what Pastor Robert Morris said, “There is something deep within our nature that causes us to pursue a prize. When a reward is on the line, we’ll often pour our blood, sweat, and tears into getting it. Athletes run their bodies to the limit in hopes of winning a gold medal. Couples endure the backbreaking work involved in a fixer-upper for the reward of having a home they love. Sales representatives go the extra mile with the goal of landing a generous commission or bonus. Hikers walk challenging mountain trails for the prize of a glorious vista view. The more valuable the reward, the more obstacles we’re willing to overcome and the more laser-focused we will be. Rewards motivate us and call us into pursuit.”
There will be resistance, offenses, humps, bumps, steep roads, sharp curves, pot holes and many more along the way, but these are necessary for our progress. Perseverance is a necessity. We choose not to give up despite the opposition or discouragement. We move forward and advance knowing that His grace is always sufficient and His strength is made perfect for our weaknesses. The revelation of His indwelling presence in us is what keeps us steady, strong and courageous, enabling us to conquer what seems unconquerable.
Just as the Lord told Joshua, He is also telling this to us today, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5) Joshua knew and witnessed what the Lord has done to and through Moses and the promise was then spoken personally to him by the Lord. Don’t you think his courage catapulted to the heights like he never had before to lead His people into the promise land?
Picture this with me … if we physically saw God parted the Red Sea through Moses, and He promised to do the same thing through you and me, how will we respond? What is written in the Bible is not history. It is His story personally written for you and me.
I just watched “Prince of Egypt” (animated movie) last week. How the Lord ordained Moses’ steps, when he was put in a basket in the river to be saved from being slaughtered, how he was spotted and rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter and was raised within the walls of the royal palace, how he witnessed God’s people’s condition as slaves and later on made to see that he was one of them, how the Lord spoke to him through the burning bush and called him to be their deliverer, how God parted the Red Sea through him and a lot more, amazingly overwhelmed me. Oh wow … it surely moved me to tears what God can do in and through His people if we hear and head His voice.
Was that mere coincidence? No! With God, nothing just happens. “We are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” (Ephesians 3:20 AMPC)
Paul said, “Today I am who I am because of God’s grace, and I have made sure that the grace He offered me has not been wasted. I have worked harder, longer, and smarter than all the rest; but I realize it is not me—it is God’s grace with me that has made the difference.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 Voice)
When God our Father gave His only Beloved and Begotten Son Jesus because He so loved the world, it was absolutely with a purpose. Jesus was born to die. “Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9 NLT). He came was so that you and I may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) through His suffering death and resurrection.
A life worth living is when the eyes of our understanding are being enlightened that we may know what is the hope of His calling for us as the Holy Spirit progressively reveals it to us day after day. What He reveals, He postures us to explore and experience. It is not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of God.
“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Philippians 2:13 AMPC)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for calling me by name to know You and to know Jesus Who powerfully demonstrated Your great love for me. Thank You, Jesus, that You made the Way for this wonderful revelation knowledge of how loved I am that enables me to love You back.
Indeed, we love You in return because You loved us first. You are the source of all and when we are filled and flooded with Your all in all, only then we can pour out our all to You and to those around us. This signifies the love of the cross. The enabling power and sustenance for us to love others, the horizontal part of the cross, is dependent on Your love flowing in us, the vertical part of the cross.
Thank You that it is Your love that directs my every step, revealing to me who I am created to be in Christ Jesus. As new creations, come new purposes. We no longer live for ourselves but we live our lives according to Your plans that are to prosper us and never to harm us, to give us a hope and a future.
Come, Lord Jesus. Be my Good Shepherd as Your Spirit leads me in the way I should go that I may fulfill the very purpose of who you made me to be. Amen!